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Of 400 Richest Americans, Only 8 Say They're Willing to Pay More Taxes

The 400 wealthiest people in America were asked if they'd be willing to pay more taxes. How many said they would pay more taxes? That's right: 2 percent

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Wagner’s business partner,  Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team and chairman of HDNet ($2.3B), said, “I have absolutely no problem paying more taxes. None.” But he went on:

What I have a problem with is how the money is spent.  If the incremental money could be directed to defined and deserved recipients.  I would be thrilled to write the check.

The problem I have is not on the revenue side, its on the expenditure side. Too much money is wasted on bureaucracy, adminis-trivia,  pensions and over-expansive federal employment.

So I’m a resounding yes on more taxes, but an attachment to the funding to be directly spent on approved programs. If a program doesn’t deliver 95 percent  or better to its intended recipients, it should be put on hold until it does.

Stanley Hubbard, founder, Hubbard Broadcasting ($1.9B), said maybe: “There is more to it than a simple yes or no.  It depends upon a lot of things.”

John Catsimatidis, CEO of the Gristedes supermarket chain ($2B), offered a different version of “shared sacrifice.”

All Americans should feel the pain equally; not be prejudiced only against a certain group. If that is allowed, it opens doors to other prejudices to other groups.

Bernie Marcus, co-founder of Home Depot (Net worth: $1.8B), didn’t say “no,” but expressed worry that Buffett and Obama are “penalizing success.”

I have no problem paying my fair share of taxes. What I do have a problem with is the idea that by raising taxes on a select few, we can get our economy growing again and close our national debt. That is false. Getting people back to work with good-paying, sustainable jobs is the only thing that will get our nation out of this recession because it will bring in more tax dollars. That’s what our government should be focused on rather than penalizing success.

He later clarified his position, saying:

I’m not against anybody paying additional taxes as long as there is a comprehensive tax program which involves spending cuts. We have to cut spending, which is the biggest evil we have in this government.

And Charles Koch, the CEO of Koch Industries and funder of conservative causes ($25B), categorically rejected the idea.

Much of what the government spends money on does more harm than good; this is particularly true over the past several years with the massive uncontrolled increase in government spending. I believe my business and non-profit investments are much more beneficial to societal well-being than sending more money to Washington.

What about all the others who ducked the question entirely? Peruse the  Forbes list, and if you run into any of them, be sure to ask them yourself. We’ll be curious to learn what they say.

 

 
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